The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2D / SPOILER-FREE)
Cert: 12A / 142 mins / Dir. Marc Webb
It wouldn't be a lie to tell you that initially, I wasn't particularly bothered about Marc Webb's sequel to 2012's Amazing Spider-Man. Although I found the original enjoyable, it didn't really leave me with anything, particularly when other Marvel-based franchises seem to be shouting louder and for longer. I still wanted to see this on the opening day, of course, so I braved the crowds*1 and settled in to watch the webslinger in glorious 2D*2…
And my word, I wasn't disappointed. Tonally, this screen-incarnation is as close as I've seen yet to the comic book character; Exciting, touching and, most importantly, fun. The humour's more in a goofy vein than Iron Man's sassiness, and even in its bleakest moments, the film avoids the moroseness of Thor*2, and Marc Webb succeeds - finally - in making Peter Parker an interesting character. That's an essential tool in getting Peter's story to work, yet it's also the events in the film, and his character's handling of them, which allow him to be interesting. Andrew Garfield has made the role his own now (certainly Parker, if not Spider-Man), and he has a great rapport with all of the supporting cast. Emma Stone keeps things on a (relatively) low-flame as Peter's on/off girlfriend Gwen Stacy, whereas Jamie Fox and Dane DeHaan enjoy the hell out of their roles as Max Dillon and Harry Osborn, respectively. Sally Field once again rules the roost as Aunt May, making a sympathetic character without patronising everyone she speaks to.
The story follows several converging threads in Peter Parker's life, which while they lead to a precisely engineered conclusion, often feel like they're jostling for screen-time along the way. My main worry was that the screen-villains*4 would take up too much time and overshadow our hero, whereas what's actually happened is that two of the stories seem almost like they're taken from different screenplays, only syncing together for spectacle rather than narrative value. In the end it works well, but I wanted to see more build-up of Foxx's and DeHaan's characters. Paul Giamatti, for the record, is fantastic, and his character is handled brilliantly.
Spoilers and weighty-analysis will follow in a future review, but let's just say that this could well be the best super-hero film of the year. And that's as much of a surprise to me as anyone else...
• Yes, Stan Lee's got a cameo.
• Yes, there's a mid-credits scene.
• No, there's no post-credits scene. So after the minute-or-so in the army (P.O.W?) camp, you can make a move.
Action? Yes. Emotion? No.
For me, more than.
Cinema. Big. Loud. Cinema.
Y'know, I didn't hear one. I'm starting to think that my asking of this question throughout 2013 has gotten them banned or something..
What manner of sorcery has taken place to enable 20th Century Fox to run a push for their movie in the middle of a Sony film's credits? I know it's all Marvel, but this is mighty unusual, isn't it?
*1 And it was busy; the schools are off for Easter, so there was a big family-presence.
*2 No agenda behind that, but the 2D showing was at 5:30, and I figured the 3D at 8:30 would be busier.
*3 And I say that as someone who wholeheartedly approves of both the sassiness and the moroseness.
*4 Okay, there are three of them on the partwork-poster, but we're going spoiler-free here.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.